Barcelona 1-0 Real Valladolid: 5 Hits and Flops
Barcelona maintained their seven-point lead atop La Liga after a slender 1-0 win over Real Valladolid, ahead of their Champions League last-16 clash with Lyon in midweek. Lionel Messi netted his 22nd league goal this term from the penalty spot, after a marauding Gerard Pique - shaping to shoot - was held in the box by midfielder Michel.
The visitors had goalkeeper Jordi Masip to thank for keeping them in the game, as the Barca academy graduate made a string of important saves from Messi and substitute Luis Suarez during an action-packed second-half.
The result is Valladolid's fifth defeat of 2019 and means they're just three points off the relegation places after 24 matches. With that all in mind, here's a look at five players who either impressed or struggled during Barcelona's victory on Saturday evening:
#5 Flop: Daniele Verde
In a game like this, Daniele Verde needed to show composure and good decision-making in possession if Valladolid were going to have much chance of snatching a result.
Instead, the 22-year-old Italian struggled throughout and was unsurprisingly replaced after 65 minutes. He created a joint team-high two key passes on the evening but crucially lost the ball on five occasions during his stint on the pitch too.
76.9% pass accuracy, 41 touches, one tackle, and one interception. This just wasn't good enough - especially given Barca's overload with Valladolid's three-pronged attack. On another day, the visitors would have been traveling home after a heavy defeat, if not for some excellent saves and wasteful finishing on Barcelona's part.